CSL Preview - 1 August 2015
CSL Eastern Premier
Arbroath captain Marc Petrie has shrugged off the notion that the absence of star all-rounder Ross McLean could scupper Arbroath’s quest to pull off the Eastern Premier and Scottish Cup double.
McLean, who is in Switzerland for a month to gather material for his university degree dissertation, has emerged as a real force, thanks to his solid performances as an opening batsman and his more-than-useful spin bowling.
However, a confident Petrie believes his squad is deep enough to cope with his absence.
As he stepped up preparations for today’s crucial clash with basement boys RH Corstorphine at Lochlands, the skipper said: “Of course we will miss Ross and his considerable talents, but we have lots of options available to us.
“Jack Waller will get the chance to show what he can do at the top of the order. He also bowls some off-spin - and Fraser Burnett can turn his arm over in that role as well.”
Arbroath are tucked in behind leaders Grange, who will also be their opponents in the Scottish Cup Final at Stirling later this month.
Petrie’s focus, however, is firmly trained on this weekend’s task in hand - and he made it clear that Corstorphine will be no pushovers, despite not having won in the league this season.
He stated: “They played very well against us down at their place and I am very surprised at their record.
“They have a couple of very good overseas players and it is important for us to keep the shackles on them.
“The bottom line is that we are performing strongly, as was underlined last week when we beat champions Aberdeenshire for the second time in the campaign and then got through against an enterprising Poloc side in the cup semi.
“We will continue to enjoy our cricket - if you are enjoying it, you are usually winning!”
Elsewhere, Grange should be too powerful for Stoneyewood-Dyce at Peoples Park, while there will be little to choose in the trans-Tay Bridge derby between Forfarshire and Falkland at Broughty Ferry.
Carlton need a victory at Aberdeenshire to keep alive their slim title hopes, while Heriot’s should make home advantage count in the capital clash with Watsonians.
CSL Western Premier
CLYDESDALE face potentially one of the biggest remaining obstacles in their quest to become Western Union champions when they travel to Uddingston this afternoon.
A few weeks ago the trip to Bothwell Castle Policies might have held few fears as the Villagers struggled to play to their true potential during the first half of the campaign.
Indeed, when the sides met at Titwood earlier in the season, Majid Haq’s Clydesdale strolled to a comfortable win though the success was marred for Haq by the loss of a tooth after being hit in the face while fielding.
Uddingston were dismissed for just 84 that day but their batsmen have started to find a bit of form and as a result the home side go into today’s clash on a run of four consecutive wins.
Whether they can make it five remains to be seen but there is a new-found confidence in the ranks and, regardless of the outcome today, skipper Bryan Clarke is delighted at the turnaround in his side’s form and fortunes.
He said: “After an indifferent start we had to have a look at how we were setting up and team selections.
“We decided it was time to push one or two of the younger guys forward and we haven't looked back since.
“Guys like Niall MacLeod, Allan Laycock and Dennis Eyles have really stepped up and should be mainstays our team for years to come.
“Anwar Hafeez has been excellent for us and we’ve had important contributions from Gowtham Rai who has batted beautifully at times.
“We've been enjoying our cricket and playing hard. I'm sure Clydesdale won't be taking anything for granted coming to BCP on Saturday.”
If Uddingston are one of the form teams in the division, their record is more than matched by the leaders who have now compiled a seven-game winning streak and have the look of champions.
The Titwood side welcome back player-coach Con de Lange who, with two centuries and nineteen wickets already to his name, will be a valuable addition for the run-in.
Second top Kelburne, who visit Clydesdale next week, may be keeping one eye on events at Bothwell Castle but the Paisley side’s main focus will be on taking the points from their Whitehaugh clash with struggling West of Scotland.
Kelburne have lost a little momentum after a couple of defeats and last week’s abandonment at Drumpellier but victory today would be a timely boost.
If it has been a difficult season for West, who have just one win to their name, it has been even more painful for Renfrew who sit rock-bottom and are still seeking an elusive first victory.
The wait may go on since today Sai Majeed’s men entertain a Ferguslie side who still have more than a passing interest in the title race.
With five scalps, overseas professional Keith Dabengwa was the hero of last week’s win against Ayr but it is homegrown stars Hamza Tahir and Jamey Carruthers who sit first and third in the Union’s wicket-taking chart.
The Paisley side make one change with James Cook replacing Fraser Proud.
Following defeat at Clydesdale a week ago, East Kilbride will attempt to rekindle their fading title hopes when they entertain a Dumfries side whose campaign has been dogged by inconsistency.
Elsewhere, Ayr’s clash with Drumpellier may be rescheduled after Scotland’s World Cricket League encounter with Nepal was carried into the reserve day at Cambusdoon.